Thomas or John Carte (1686–1754) was an English historian with Jacobite sympathies, who served as a Church of England clergyman.



Carte was born in 1686 near Clifton upon Dunsmore (itself near Rugby), the eldest son of the antiquarian Samuel Carte.[1] He matriculated at University College, Oxford in 1698, and took his degree from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1702, and an MA from King's College, Cambridge, in 1706.[2]

Carte first became known for the controversy that opposed him to Henry Chandler, father of Samuel Chandler, regarding the role played by King Charles I in the Irish Rebellion of 1641. This controversy started with a sermon Carte preached at the Abbey Church in Bath in 1714, where he was a reader. In this sermon Carte defended King Charles I against the accusation that he was in league with Phelim O'Neill who pretended to act on a (probably false) royal commission issued.[3]

His attachment to the Stuarts also caused him to remain a non-juror. He was ordained around 1714, and in that year refused to take the Oath of Allegiance. On the discovery of the plot of Francis Atterbury, whose secretary he was, he was accused of high treason in 1722[4] and was forced to flee to France adopting the name of Philips.[5]

There he collected materials for illustrating a London edition of the Historium sui temporis of Jacques Auguste de Thou planned by Samuel Buckley. These materials were purchased and published by Richard Mead.[6] Carte was pardoned and recalled to England in 1728 through the influence of Queen Caroline.[7] Carte held the rectory in Yattendon, Berkshire, during the later part of his life.

Richard Mead made it possible for Carte and Samuel Buckley to publish the London edition of de Thou's Latin History in 1733.[8]

He started work on the Life of James Duke of Ormond. He obtained an important collection of letters from Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran. He published the letters in 1735 as volume 3 so that references could be made to them with correct page numbers. He then published volumes 1 and 2 in 1736.[9]

He then started work on a "General History of England" as an improvement on Paul de Rapin's Histoire d'Angleterre. Carte published volume 1 in 1747, volume 2 in 1750 and volume 3 in 1752. Volume 4 was published in 1755 after his death. He lost the trust of many of his patrons by including an anecdote about a miraculous healing of King's Evil by royal touch, given by the "Old Pretender" in the first volume.[10]

He died on 2 April 1754.[11] He was buried in the church at Yattendon.



Life of James Duke of Ormond


Edition 1735/1736


In three volumes: Volume three was published first and has a different title.

  • Carte, Thomas (1736). An History of the Life of James Duke of Ormonde. Vol. 1. London: J.J. and P. Knapton. OCLC 59522918.
  • Carte, Thomas (1736). An History of the Life of James Duke of Ormonde. Vol. 2. London: J.J. and P. Knapton. OCLC 59522918.
  • Carte, Thomas (1735). A Collection of Letters, Written by the Kings Charles I. and II., the Duke of Ormonde, the Secretaries of State, the Marquess of Clanricarde, and Other Great Men during the Troubles of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. 3. London: J.J. and P. Knapton. OCLC 59522918. – Letters

Edition 1851


In six volumes

A General History of England


Other works

  • A General Account of the Necessary Materials for a History of England (1738)
  • History of the Revolutions of Portugal, with letters of Sir Robert Southwell during his embassy there (London, 1740)

He collected a large quantity of historical papers during his life. They became the property of the University of Oxford, and were deposited in the Bodleian Library, where they are known as the Carte Manuscripts.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carte, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 413.




  1. ^ Handley 2004, p. 332, left column: "Carte, Thomas (bap. 1686, d. 1754), historian, was born in Clifton upon Dunsmore, Warwickshire, and baptised there on 23 April 1686, the son of the revd Samuel Carte (1652–1740), the vicar of Clifton upon Dunsmore."
  2. ^ Venn & Venn 1922, p. 298: "Carte, Thomas, M.A. from King's 1706, S. of Samuel (1680), of Clifton-on-Dunsmore, Warws., clerk."
  3. ^ Shuckburgh 1887, p. 192, left column: "The first of these controversies arose from a sermon preached by him at the abbey church, Bath (when he was reader), on 30 Jan. 1713-14; he then defended Charles I from the common charge of having secretly instigated the Irish rebellion and massacre of 1641."
  4. ^ Hall 1905, p. xxv: "He was searched for by the king's troops in 1715, and seems to have been implicated with Bishop Atterbury."
  5. ^ Chisholm 1910, p. 413: "His attachment to the Stuarts also caused him to remain a non-juror, and on the discovery of the plot of Atterbury, whose secretary he was, he was forced to flee to France."
  6. ^ Shuckburgh 1887, p. 192, left column, bottom: "... collecting materials for illustrating a translation of the 'History of Thuanus' (du Thou)."
  7. ^ Hall 1905, p. xxvi: "Meanwhile, Quenn Caroline, alwaus the friend of literature in distress, had obtained a pardon for Carte ..."
  8. ^ Guerrini 2004, p. 639: "[in 1733 he [Mead] provided the means to publish a complete edition of Jacques Auguste de Thou's Historia sui temporis. He supported the research in France of the Jacobite exile Thomas Carte ..."
  9. ^ Webb 1878, p. 75, left column: "The History of the Life of James Duke of Ormond was published in folio — vol. iii., comprising letters, in 1735 (in order that paginal references might be made in the other volumes), and Vols I. and II. in 1736."
  10. ^ Carte 1747, p. 291, note 4: "... to a place where he was touched, in the beginning of November following [1716], by the eldest lineal descendant of a race of kings, who had in the rite of unction ..."
  11. ^ Handley 2004, p. 334, left column, line 8: "Carte died of diabetes on 2 April 1754 at Caldecott House ..."



Further reading